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Nick and Bec's Big Trip Starting on the 29th of June 2008 Bec and I will be starting a year long adventure, spending 6 months in Africa and another 6 months in South America. It should be lots of fun.

The bus to Chipata - Jackie Chan rules the road

TANZANIA | Saturday, 30 August 2008 | Views [708] | Comments [4]

Bec and I are in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  We have travelled here by the Tazara train, covering 1860km in 46 hours.

It rained last night and this morning.  We got caught in it this morning and had to shelter under a leaky umbrella, then the rest of the day warm and soggy.

Here's the entry for today.  It is our bus trip to Chipata on the 19th August.  After Chipata we travelled to Suth Luangwa national park, but that is another story.

Today we have watched countless Jackie Chan movies, well three actually, on the bus from Lusaka to Chipata.  Jackie has been fighting evil villians, corrupt CIA and racing cars, all for our amusement.

So, the bus trip.  We leapt out of bed at 4:45am and packed and cooked breakfast for our prearranged 5:30am taxi, which unfortunately didn't turn up.  So we started walking and not before long there was the familiar beep of a car horn, signalling a taxi available for hire.  I stick my hand out and the taxi, which I think wasn't a taxi and just someone driving along, was hailed.  We were deposited in the chaos of the bus station and did some fine haggling to keep the cost of our baggage low, from 60,000K to 10,000K.

We climb aboard and wait for 6 o'clock to arrive, our official departure time.  6 o'clock comes and goes.  We have forgotten Africa time! Unlike the blue family buses of Livingstone this one is subject to Africa time.  At 7:30am we depart the still chaotic bus station.  With people, paying passengers, being pushed and pulled by eager men in their blue company jacket and trousers, each wanting the one customer on their bus.  Human beings don't divide by 2 easily.

Within 2 minutes the preacher is handed the microphone and we are treated to a surmon, whever we like it or not.  Eventually the amens and halleujahs cease and everone is blessed, in his own words, 'we bless the passengers, we bless the conductor and we even bless the driver'.  Lucky us, the driver on the other hand seemed like an after thought.  I'm thinking this could be a tough 6 hours, but I am saved, as we drop him off before too long and pick up some more passengers.

Bec and I are in the front seats on the left hand side and in front of us is the driver and at least 6 other people, sitting on the engine cover, the conductors seat and just standing.  This is Africa travel.

Back to the bus station.  Whilst waiting for the bus to leave, every man and his dog, aunt and cousin comes on the bus and trys to sell you something.  This usually, or always, consists of sunglasses, watches, talktime for your mobile, shoes for your right foot (who knows where you get the left one from), lollies and bananas.  Oh, we did see a guy selling toothpaste, goes well with the lollies.  Yesterday we saw a guy selling cotton reels, probably not the best entrepeneaur, but who knows, perhaps he has an edge on the market we have yet to see.

So back on the bus again.  I'm sure there is about 300 people on this bus.  Every-so-often there is a happy bush request and a ridiculous amount of people get off the bus and then five minutes later squeeze back on.  Plus eveyone has to put their lollies, right shoes and toothpaste somewhere too.  This bus is cavernous.

The road was slightly better tha the road from Livingstone to Lusaka.  That road for the 1st 80km is shocking and the bus drives in the dirt as it is smoother than the collection of potholes and patches of tarmac.

So the bus has bounced along in the dirt and through the potholes for the best part of the day arriving in Chipata roughly 8 hours later.

After haggling at the bus station for a taxi to Dean's Hill View Camp we jump in for 10,000K.  I was firm and they came to my price!  Nick the ruthless haggler.

The campsite is as the name suggests on the side of the hill with a view of the town.  The tent is up, the showers are really hot, so Bec tells me, and dinner is cooked and eaten, pasta and pesto.  The campsite is grassy, but a bit hard.  I am thankfull for the quality of the MSR tent pegs.  Easy to bash in with a lump of rock.

And before I forget, one of the Jackie Chan movies was in Spanish, such an amusing day.

And another thing, at one of the bus stations we noticed that the police station and the toilet was through the same door.  Convenience I guess?  Perhaps the police used one of the cubicles with a desk setup over the cistern.  We shall never know.

Well that's it for now.  Tomorrow we head to Zanzibar.



Now thats a funny story.
I love the image of the bus, although couldn't imagine how you did 8 hours on it. So whats a happy bush request? I'm assuming its the African equivalent of a Welcome Break or Little Chef..?

  Julian Sep 1, 2008 10:04 PM


Certainly made me smile as well. Lots of happy bushes every so often. Do they have signs! God bless you my son and hallelujah as well!

  Pat Sep 5, 2008 5:39 AM


We are not sure if it is of interest, considering the abundance of wildlife on offer, but 76 canaries are now safely in the nest! One bluebird is housed but an awkward one has found somewhere better and is missing. A search party is on the case.

Jolly Boys,camping? Sounds interesting!

  dlk Sep 9, 2008 4:08 AM


Ahh, Jackie Chan movies. They are a regular occurance at our house (Grace loves them).

It sounds like you're truly experiencing life among the natives. Keep up the narration, it makes me laugh!

  HOK Sep 16, 2008 4:09 PM

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